Poutine

Homemade Poutine is a tasty combination of cheesy goodness with gravy and potatoes, a delicious comfort food blend that can be served as an appetizer or in my case, a whole meal.

close up of melted cheese on canadian cheese fries


 

What is Poutine?

Poutine is a classic Canadian dish made from French fries, cheese curds and hot gravy. It’s a great recipe to serve at a party as an appetizer, side dish, or to enjoy as a main course year round. It has also become quite popular at state fairs and carnival right alongside fried cheese curds.

My friend and cooking buddy, Nathalie, suggested that I try making a traditional Canadian dish. Oddly enough, when you Google “Famous Canadian Dishes,” Poutine is the front runner and I happen to love Poutine (ok, I really just love cheese curds).

poutine on a small, white serving plate

More famous Canadian dishes? 

If you are Canadian, you are rolling your eyes, but those in the states often ask this question… so just keep on scrolling.

  • Canadian Bacon
  • Beaver Tails- a pastry, flattened donut with a hole
  • Butter Tarts– mini tarts with a sugar and egg custard center, some have raisins 
  • Nanaimo Bars- layers of butter icing, chocolate and cookie crumbs 
  • Split Pea Soup- usually seen as an English dish, it is also popular in Canada
  • Tourtière- a meat pie
  • Saskatoon Berry Pie- made with saskatoon berries, a blueish-purple berry 
  • Montreal-Style Bagel- thinner and sweeter than the US kind, they are also made in a wood fire
serving of poutine on a serving spoon

What Are Cheese Curds? 

Cheese curds are a baby cheese, if you will. During the cheese making process, milk is curdled using a combination of acid, rennet and bacterial cultures (yummy, huh?). Don’t dis it until you try it!

Poutine fries are a traditional French Fries, but when I am hand cutting my potatoes, I’m super lazy, so I decided to make potato slices instead. In Canada, they might be called Canadian Fries. 

Cheese curds can also be frozen, so if you find them on sale, grab a few bags!

overhead of poutine in a casserole dish

The next question is what is the history of poutine? The origins of Canada’s national dish are quite controversial. 

The most commonly accepted story is that they originated in the 1950s at a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit in Warwick. A customer asked for cheese curds to be added to his gravy fries and the rest is history; poutine fries.

A little anticlimactic, right? Not like the origins of the Garbage Plate, another regional favorite.

fried potatoes with gravy and melted cheese

Grab the Ingredients

Making poutine is relatively easy and only uses 5 ingredients, unless, of course, you are making gravy from scratch.

I know what you are thinking… poutine uses French Fries and yes, authentic poutine does, but this is my version. I like being able to fill up each medallion with all the toppings; the perfect potato to cheese to gravy ratio. It is flat, making it way easier to not tip off all the deliciousness.

close up of melted cheese curds on fried potatoes
  • Russet Potatoes– Russets are a great for frying because of the mealy and dry flesh. They fry up nice and crispy. Other potatoes can be used, but might not get as crispy. For example, a red potato is tasty, but will still be a little flexible because they are a waxy variety.
  • Coarse Sea salt- This is actually for the potatoes before frying. I like sea salt because it doesn’t have a metallic aftertaste.
  • Chicken or Beef Gravy– This is a matter of preference. Grab a jar of gravy from the grocery store or make homemade gravy from my dry gravy mix or learn how to make gravy from drippings.
  • Fresh Cheese curds– There usually several varieties, pick whichever floats your boat and buy extra because you’ll eat a few while you make it. My pick is usually cheddar or white cheese curds.
  • Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil– Something with a high smoke point for frying. Use a deep fry thermometer to keep a steady temperature.

Also try using a variety of cheese or topping with fresh parsley. Mozzarella and other hard cheeses are great choices. A sprinkle of onion powder, garlic powder or dashes of Worcestershire sauce is also common. I’ve also seen nacho cheese sauce, but told this isn’t authentic.

poutine made with fried potatoes, cheese, gravy and parsley

How to Make Poutine

This does require frying, be careful! You can make fries in the oven, finish them under the broiler to get them extra crispy.

  1. Place the salt and 1-2 cups water in a large mixing bowl. Place the potato slices into the water and make sure it is enough to cover the tops. This gives them more flavor and prevents them from browning. This step can be done up to a day ahead of time, just keep them in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  2. Prepare the gravy if you are making from scratch. Don’t worry about heating a store bought version, it will heat under the broiler.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, high rimmed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. You can also use a cast iron pan, just makes sure it is fairly deep. Using something high sided prevents splatters. Use a deep fry thermometer to heat oil to 325°F. Heat oven to 200°F to keep them warm while you work on batches. This is generally medium heat if you aren’t using a thermometer. Also use a deep fryer.
  4. Drain potatoes and blot well with paper towels. Drying them will prevent spitting (and little burns).
  5. Working in 3-4 batches, slowly lower potato medallions into hot oil using a fry spoon. Be prepared for a little bit of spitting from water remnants on the potato slices. Fry for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet or a wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a wire rack prevents the bottoms from getting soggy.
  6. Store in the oven to stay warm. Continue with remaining potato medallions. The trick is to remove them when they are still soft inside, like a French fry, and before they get to the point of being a potato chip.
  7. Remove warming potatoes from the oven and preheat broiler on high.
  8. Transfer the medallions to an oven safe, rimmed serving dish. Top with gravy and cheese curds. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese curds are slightly melted.
  9. Enjoy while hot!
step-by-step of how to make poutine at home

Storage & Leftovers

Store in an airtight container and reheat in the oven. Fried potatoes never regain their initial glory, but they will still be tasty. My husband will tell you they are also tasty at room temperature.

I do not suggest freezing.

homemade poutine recipe for pinterest

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Brown Sugar Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

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Potato Latkes

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close up of poutine on a plate

Poutine Recipe

4.13 from 8 votes
This Poutine Recipe is a delicious, classic Canadian dish made from fried potatoes, cheese curds and gravy! Poutine is pure mouth watering comfort food! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the salt and 1-2 cups water in a large mixing bowl. Place the potato slices into the water and make sure it is enough to cover the tops.
  • Prepare the gravy if you are making from scratch. Bottled does not need to be warmed ahead of time.
  • Heat the oil in a large, high rimmed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Use a deep fry thermometer to heat oil to 325°F. Heat oven to 200°F.
  • Drain potatoes and blot well with a paper towel.
  • Working in 3-4 batches, slowly lower potato medallions into hot oil using a fry spoon. Be prepared for a little bit of spitting from water remnants on the potato slices. Fry for 5-6 minutes or until browned and tender. Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet or a wire rack over a baking sheet. Store in the oven to stay warm. Continue with remaining potato medallions. The trick is to remove them when they are still soft inside, like a French fry, and before they get to the point of being a potato chip.
  • Remove warming potatoes from the oven and preheat broiler on high. Transfer medallions to an oven safe, rimmed serving dish. Top with gravy and cheese curds. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese curds are slightly melted.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 535 kcal, Carbohydrates: 60 g, Protein: 17 g, Fat: 20 g, Saturated Fat: 9 g, Cholesterol: 54 mg, Sodium: 4343 mg, Potassium: 1547 mg, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 425 IU, Vitamin C: 29.3 mg, Calcium: 338 mg, Iron: 2.5 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 535
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: poutine
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a fun take on poutine! Can’t deny starchy goodness topped with gravy and cheese curds. It’s what dreams are made of.

  2. 4 stars
    Although your recipe looks delicious, being Canadian I can’t help but comment that this is not certainly not like Canadian Poutine at all. Poutine is: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside french fries, smothered in a beef gravy and cheese curds.

    1. Hi there- I totally understand, but at no time have I said these were authentic. The potatoes, however, are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside 🙂